Casa Cornelia Law Center

The Casa Cornelia Law Center is a public interest law firm dedicated to helping indignant clients with pro bono legal services. The law center is located in San Diego, California and its clients are from all over the world; although, the majority of clients are from Mexico and the rest of Latin America. The law center has three programs that specialize in asylum cases, domestic violence, and child advocacy. The center focuses on providing free legal services to San Diego’s expansive immigrant community. The American Provenience of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus established the Casa Cornelia Law Center to address the need to provide quality services to San Diego, which is one of the largest border towns in the world with vast number of immigrants crossing the U.S./Mexican border each day.

Moreover, the center actively recruits law students throughout the year to help the center succeed in its mission. This summer, I will be interning in the Domestic Violence Program where I will be helping undocumented victims of domestic violence to successfully apply for a U Visa or for legal residency through the Violence Against Women Act. The U.S. Government began granting U Visas in October 2000 when Congress enacted the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act. The U Visa authorizes the victim to stay indefinitely in the U.S. and authorizes the victim to be employed. After three years of continual residency in the United States, the victim is then eligible to apply for permanent residency.

I chose to work at Casa Cornelia because of my interest in helping vulnerable immigrant communities in San Diego. I am from San Diego and grew up in City Heights, which is a very diverse community mostly made up of immigrants from Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Immigration law is a reoccurring topic in my own family and in my neighborhood. This community is also mostly made up of lower socioeconomic families. My goal is to become a public interest attorney to provide free legal services similar to the services that Casa Cornelia provides to San Diego.

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About Johanna Fernandez

CLASS Treasurer– 2015 Candidate for Juris Doctor at Cornell University Law School
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